Saturday, December 1, 2012

ANI-MOVIES, *The Thief And The Cobbler

Originally released in U.S. theatres as Arabian Knight, and also known in other parts of the world as The Princess And The Cobbler, this movie was actually in production for nearly thirty years. First spearheaded in the 60s by Richard Williams who was the animation director for Who Framed Roger Rabbit and the Raggedy Ann & Andy movie, The Thief And The Cobbler went from one production period to another. It was first going to be finally be released in the early 90s by Warner Bros., but that deal fell through when it wasn't done on time. So Williams did two versions of this, one in America as Arabian Night through Miramax, and as Princess And The Cobbler as another, each edit is supposed to be radically different from the other.

Set during the time of the Arabian Nights, an army of evil warriors called the One-Eyes(because they all have one of their eyes poked out)is making their way to Bagdad which is also referred to as the Golden City. Living there is a simpler cobbler named Tack, who after encountering the unnamed Thief in his shop stumbles into the grand vizir, Zigzag(voiced by the late Vincent Price, which was his last movie role). Ziggy brings him to the king to be executed, but the luscious Princess Yum-Yum takes a serious shining to him, and saves him by claiming she needs a shoe repaired. Meanwhile, the Thief sneaks into the palace to try and steal three gold balls that are placed on top of a high tower which are prophecised to protect the city from evil. Tack runs into ZZ again and has him put in prision. Thief manages after several Wile E. Coyote-type attempts to finally get the balls, just as a messenger comes to inform the king of the oncoming One-Eyes invasion. When Zigzag's posse gets the balls for him after the Thief drops them, he uses this as a chance to have the king let him marry the princess. After being rejected, Zigster takes the balls to ally himself with the One-Eyes. Yum-Yum then goes with Tack on a quest to get advice from a reclusive witch who lives in the desert to find out how to stop the One-Eyes, al while being followed by the Thief. Along the way, they run across some melodic desert punks who were formally with the army, that Yummy adopts as her royal guard. They get to the witch who tells them to attack the One-Eyes when they come. Double-backing it to Bagdad, they arrive just as the One-Eyes unleash their gigantic war machine on the city. Tack realizes that the witch ment to use "a tack" though, and throws a tack at the soldiers which ricochets off several soldiers and eventually causes the war machine to fall apart, although the Thief's attempts to get the balls back from it help bring it down too. Tack is seen as a hero, marries Yum-Yum, and the Thief tries to make off with the closing credits.

This film has some serious design clashes in it, but in a good way. It goes the way of generic Disney style, but is more heavily based on the United Productions of America animation who did Mr. Magoo. The main draw was the esthetic use of perspective involved in some of the shots to provide an almost 3-D effect when watching it. When Disney more or less took the film from Richard Williams when they released it through Miramax, they gave it a new edit and some new voice overs. They added Johnathon Winters as the Thief(in inner monologue only), and Matthew Broderick as Tack, even though in the original dub he was voiced by Sean Connery. After lots of ups & downs with Disney, Williams finally decided to release it as a non-profit bootleg titled The Recobbled Cut. It's visually a wonderful film, and worth owning anyone who can appreaciate a great animated legacy.

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